If there’s one thing to know about Nashville, the city has become a diverse travel destination for every demographic. Once known as a mecca for country music, Nashville now mixes that genre with rock-n-roll, gospel, a coveted culinary scene, a bustling downtown, growing arts and culture, professional sports teams… shall we go on? A family travel destination, an expanded craft beer industry, independent music venues, historical tours. We could still continue talking about Nashville’s growth over the last decade, but let’s just suggest some of the top places to visit on your next trip to Nashville.
Country Music Hall of Fame
While Nashville is known for gospel and a burgeoning alternative scene, it will always be home to country music. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a state-of-the-art center that showcases the city’s deep relationship with the genre. With its unparalleled collection of 2 million items and recent $100 million expansion which doubled its size, you can see why the museum has earned its nickname as the “Smithsonian of Country Music.” Nashville is full of historical building and attractions, and the Country Music Hall of Fame has added a modern touch to the city’s ever-growing downtown scene.
Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
It’s the landmark restaurant that started a national trend of spicing up the bird. Prince Hot’s Chicken Shack sits north of downtown, but it’s worth a quick Uber or drive to taste its delicious levels of hotness. No worries if heat isn’t your thing, temperatures range from six flavors: Plain to XXXHot. Prince’s simple menu of chicken and sides keeps the lines flowing, plus it was named in the super duper mega guide to eating out in Nashville, If you hear someone order XXXHot, then we suggest finding a seat next to that person and watch the show.
Percy and Edwin Warner Parks
The beautiful pristine parks are the crown jewel of outdoor activities in Nashville. From hiking to cycling and nationally-known cross-country courses, the Warner Parks and their nature center are a bevy of outdoor amazement. Considered the gateway to Warner Parks, the Warner Park Nature Center offers you free educational programs and is the main trailhead for twelve miles of hiking trails.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
No visit to Nashville is complete without a stop at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Built in the 1930s of white marble, this former U.S. Post Office was renovated in the 1990s to become the city’s premier art center. Instead of having a permanent collection of art, this unique non-collecting museum focuses on crafting revolving exhibitions and hosting some of the country’s and the world’s most exciting traveling exhibitions. No matter when you visit, you can expect to see something new.
For almost 50 years, the area known as The Gulch laid dormant with little more than driving through the area to find Music Row. Today, you will find a vibrant district full of hotels, trendy restaurants, fashion boutiques and apartments. The mixed-use area is the first LEED-certified neighborhood in the South with its walkability, public transportation and aforementioned attractions. Located just a north of downtown, it’s a 15-minute walk from Bridgestone Arena, home of the city’s professional hockey team, the Nashville Predators.
Head slightly southeast of downtown to the Rutledge Hill neighborhood and you still stumble upon Pinewood Social. Part eatery and part fun, Pinewood Social mixes eclectic dishes with bowling, bocce ball and an outdoor space with a 30-foot Airstream and its own pool patio. If you’re visiting Nashville with a group, you can even reserve a room for a fun night of karaoke.
Probably the most iconic and historic building in Nashville, the Ryman Auditorium and its self-proclaimed “hallowed ground” for music has been a part of downtown since 1892. It’s a must-stop for visitors to Music City where you can take a self-guided or backstage tour, or you can attend one of its entertaining shows with acts from Vince Gill and Amy Grant to Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Cool Stuff Weird Things
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
While many visitors enjoy the hustle and bustle of downtown, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens delivers on nature and beauty for a serene getaway during your Nashville vacation. The 55-acre site gives way to fountains, ponds, an unique sculpture trail and an authentic Japanese garden. Don’t miss the rotating exhibitions and permanent collections at the Museum of Art, housed in a Georgian-style mansion.
Yazoo Brewing Tour
Calling all beer lovers (who are 21+). One of Nashville’s first breweries, Yahoo Brewing started in 2003 and quickly won the hearts of Music City residents with its award-winning pale ales and stouts. In 2009, the Nashville brewery created Tennessee’s first ever legal high-gravity ale, Yazoo Sue which has soared in popularity including an ice cream flavor with another area favorite, Jeni’s Ice Cream. Brewery tours are available 5 and 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday.
Hatch Show Print
Country music still permeates throughout downtown and areas of Music Row. And few places exude this like Hatch Show Print, a printing company who specializes in high-end designed music posters. Located inside the Country Music Hall of Fame, the 139-year-old printing shop offers individual and private group tours where you can print your own commemorative poster.
Lane Motor Museum
Housed inside a former bread bakery, the Lane Motor Museum is one of the most unique museums in Nashville, and also one of the few museums in the United States to specialize in European cars. With 40,000 square feet of open space, the museum houses cars from A to Z — okay, it’s missing a couple of letters. For example, it’s smallest vehicle, the Peel P50 is 53” long, 39” wide, and 53” high.
Roughly 15 miles south of downtown lies an entire day of fun for family and friends. SOAR Adventure has four levels of ropes adventure and more than 110 climbing elements for kids and adults. Safety is paramount at this climbing park with a state-of-the-art belay system which ensures climbers are never detached from safety lines. There are some height and age requirements, and if you tired of climbing, a fun miniature golf course awaits.
This 300-seat music venue features lineups of up-and-coming-artists and well-known ones who appreciate intimate places of music. Throw in the extensive wine list and upscale restaurant, and Nashville’s City Winery offers you have a great evening of feeling like an adult. Are you a true oenophile? Check out the ins and outs of winemaking or enjoy City Winery’s tour and tasting room.
Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
Leopards, owls and lizards… Oh my. With more than 6,000 animals throughout its park, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere takes you on a journey of education and understanding of animals and their care. The park is located about six miles from downtown Nashville and open during day hours, but they do seasonally change. Plus for kids, there’s a 66,000 square-foot jungle gym that features a 35-foot tall tree house, multiple slides and a “snake tunnel.”